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A Review On: Philips Fidelio X2

Philips Fidelio X2

Rated # 37 in Over-Ear
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $300.00
peter123
Posted · 113829 Views · 24 Comments

Pros: Sound, build, comfort and design

Cons: Stock cable a bit long and it doesn't make me coffee

The Philps Fidelio X2 was purchased by me and I’m not in any way affiliated with Philips.

 

Introduction:

The Philips Fidelio X2 is Philips top of the line full size open headphones. I picked up my pair about five months ago and thought it was about time to post a review on them.

 

Built and accessories:

The Fidelio X2’s features 50 mm neodymium drivers in a fully open back design.

 

First impression when opening the box was very positive. The package felt exclusive and the headphones themselves feel very premium. Materials like real leather, aluminum, steel and pads filled with memory foam makes them both look and feel premium. I’ve got a couple of other mid-fi cans as well (SR325is. Q701, DT880) and none of them has the same feeling of quality as the X2’s.

 

Regarding the pads they’re detachable and said to be user replaceable but since Philips still doesn’t provide any spare pads I think it’s better to think of the pads as not replaceable. I really think it’s a shame that Philips didn’t add the pads to their line up the day they started to sell the X2’s.

 

Although the weigh as much as 380 grams they don’t feel heavy at all and I can use them for hours without any discomfort. I’ve got a very small head but I’ve got no problem wearing these for several hours. Initially the pads felt a bit stiff but after heavy usage for several months they’re now extremely comfortable and the pads seem to hold their shape really well.

 

The included cable is 3 meter long and terminated with 3,5mm plugs in both ends. Although the cable itself is pretty nice I swapped it for a shorter one almost immediately because I prefer a shorter one for comfort reasons.  I think Philips should have included a shorter cable and an extension cable instead for better flexibility.

 

Included accessories are limited to the 3 m long cable, a 3.5 to 6.5mm adapter and a shirt clip.

 

 

The Specs:

 

Frequency response

5-40kHz

Impedance

35 Ohm

Maximum power input

500 mW

Sensitivity

100 dB @ 1mW

Speaker diameter

50mm

Cable

3m 3.5mm to 3.5mm

Weight

380g

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sound:

I've used the Fidelio X2’s for well over 200 hours. I’ve used it with my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, FiiO X3, FiiO X3/Bluebird 6.0 combo, AQ Dragonfly/Cayin C5 combo, Geek Out 720 and Geek Out 720 combined with Matrix M-stage/Schiit Magni/Little Dot I+/Cayin C5. They’ve performed very well with all of the above but my favorite combination is the one with the Geek Out 720 and Matrix M-stage.

 

 

 

I’ve also used them quite a bit with Yamaha RX-A810 receiver watching movies and TV shows on late evenings and that’s also worked very well. I’ve also tried listening to music with them through the Yamaha and this just sound OK, a bit too boomy bass for my preference this way probably due to a quiet high output impedance o the receiver.

 

 

Demo list:

Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia

Røyksopp (Feat.Susanne Sundfør) – Save Me

Ane Brun – These Days

Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana

Alice in Chains – Them Bones

The Peter Malick Group – Immigrant

Eva Cassidy – Songbird

Thomas Dybdahl – A Lovestory

Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why

Celldweller – Unshakeable

Jack Johnson – Better Together

Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo remix)

Dire Straits- So Far Away

Passenger – Let Her Go

Morrissey – Earth Is the Loneliest Planet

 

The overall sound signature on the Fidelio X2’S is full and well balanced with a small hump in the bass region. Although the X2’s are a full sounding headphone it still offers great clarity and details and there’s no sign of muddiness in the presentation.

 

Soundstage width is good even for a full size open headphone while depth and imaging in very good and probably one of, if not the, strongest parts in the way the X2’s sound.

 

The bass is probably the first thing one notice when listening to the X2’s. It’s very present and impactful for an open headphone. The bass is focused on the lower notes and only on very rare occasions does the bass get boomy and leaks into the midrange. The bass has very good layering and feels well controlled and integrated with the rest of the sound. I consider myself very sensitive to bass bleed and the X2’s really manage to stay just in line with what I can accept except with some very few albums/songs that’s recorded with a high bass presence (Jack Johnson’s “Better together” is an example of such a recording) being the “rare occasions” mentioned above.

 

The midrange doesn’t feel neither recessed nor up front but there’s a slight lift in the lower mids that makes the transaction from the lows smooth and overall sound smooth and full. Coming from something like one of the AKG 70X siblings  the mids might feel recessed initially but once you adapt to the sound of the X2’s it just feels right. I really love my mids and it’s my impression that the X2’s delivers in every way in this area.

 

The treble is well controlled and in good balance with the rest of the frequencies. I’ve read reports about both grain and sibilance in the treble but fortunately this isn’t something my ears are not able to hear at all and if anything I could do with slightly more treble presence. That being said extension is very good and I’m not missing anything there.

 

Comparison:

Fidelio X2 vs AKG Q701:

Compared to the Fidelio X2 the Q701 has a pretty similar soundstage in both depth and width. The midrange (especially the higher mids)  on the Q’s is  more forward while overall sound is less full and bass impact and presence is also lower. The hump in the higher mids/lower highs gives the Q’s an overall brighter and more airy presentation, they’ve also have got more treble presence while treble extension is pretty similar.

 

While both headphones uses velour pads only the X2’s uses memory foam inside and this makes them more comfortable to wear for longer sessions. I also think that the self-adjusting headband on the X2’s does a better job keeping them in place although they weigh over 50% more. The X2’s also feels more solid in overall construction while the Q’s are a bit “plastic fantastic”.  

 

Although the 62Ohm/93dB Q701’s are notorious for needing a lot of power they actually don’t need much more volume on the M-stage to reach the same listening level (11 vs 12 o’clock on the volume pot).

 

 

 

Fidelio X2 vs Grado SR325is:

Compared to the Fidelio X2 the Grado’s has a smaller soundstage width and lose out in depth as well. The midrange on the Grado’s is  more forward while overall sound is less full and bass impact (especially sub-bass) and presence is also  lower. The overall presentation of the Grado’s is more intimate, brighter and with more treble presence ending up in a feeling of better clarity.

 

I’ve always found the comfort on the stock Grado’s to be terrible due to the combination of the weight of the housings and my small head. I’m also not particular found of on ears so I’ve modded my 325is with a HD650 head pad and some OEM velour pads and in this configuration I’d say that comfort is about equal between the two. The construction on the Grado’s is very simple but the material is also very good so I’d say that build quality is also equal on the two.

 

At 32Ohm/98dB the SR325is are rated very similar to the X2’s and that also shows in practice where I use them with the volume pot in the same place for both.

 

 

 

Fidelio X2 vs Fischer Audio FA-011:

The FA-011 was a revelation as an open headphone with great bass impact a couple of years ago. Compared to the X2’s they’ve got less sub bass and more mid-bass and also lose out in bass quality. They’ve got a much smaller soundstage in both depth and width and honestly are outclassed sonically by the X2’s.

 

Comfort is very good on both although the stock pads on the FA-011’s very thin so I’ve replaced them with some HiFiMAN velour pads and that works really well. I really love the wood housing of the FA-011’s but apart from that the construction is flimsy and gives a cheap feeling so overall build quality is definitely better on the X2’s.

 

At 160 Ohm/98dB the FA-011 are quite a bit harder to drive compared to the X2.

 

 

 

Summary:

While the Fidelio X2 is not the headphone for someone preferring a cold “neutral” sound I honestly don’t find it to be particular warm either but rather full and natural sounding.

 

The fact that they sound great out of any source and with any kind of music makes them the best all round headphone I’ve ever owned and I get a bit scared when thinking about what it’ll cost me to move up to a significantly better sound. Luckily I’m in no hurry for that since I still fully enjoy the Fidelio X2’s and expecting to do so for a long time still.  

24 Comments:

Great review, mirrors my own experience with this wonderful headphone, only treble presence is exactly right for my slight tinnitus ears ;-)
Awesome review peter.
I am looking for something that would complement my T50RP, this might be it.
@getclikinagas  thanks! Interesting, I actually thought of making a comparsion with the T50RP but since both my pair are modded I decided against it. From memory the X2's got better extesion in both ends while the mids are full and nice on both. I think that if you like the T50RP there's a fair chance that you'll enjoy the X2's as well.
Ah thanks. The mids are quite special on the T50RPs. I haven't modded mine yet. Just soaking in the stock sig before I do.
 
You've mentioned that  sounds great off multiple sources. I have a GO450. I take it this should sufficient?
I do hope I get to audition them before I purchase. Philips' weirdly limited release doesn't do me any favors :/
@getclikinagas Yeah, I've got the GO720 myself and they pair very well. The 450 should sound very similar and have more than enough power for them.
 
If you can hear them first that's certainly the best but Philips product doesn't seem to be that widely available everywhere.
 
You're in for a treat modding those T50RP's ;)
Have been listening to my friend's X2 today with my iBasso DX100 (firmware 1.2.7). Sounds ridiculously good with it, almost as if it's been voiced specifically with it. It's such a great combo that i purchased one earlier today and will get it by next weekend.
I own the X1 and I'm curious how does it compare to it? It is worth $100 more? 
Bass is tighter and better controlled on the X2 compared to the X1. Otherwise the only difference between them is the new all black color scheme and replaceable pads for the X2. IMO not worth getting the X2 if you have the X1.
Thanks Nicolo, that's good to know. I doubt i'd be the type that can hear the difference between then regardless. Will wait for the second hand costs to drop first. 
Congrats Peter for front page. Great review for a great headphone! My favorite full sized as well ;)
@Baycode Thank you very much! Yes they're truly great :)
Awesome review. These are on my radar now. Can anyone offer a quick comparison between these and the HD600s—the only full-sized cans I currently own?
 
Incidentally, "Unshakeable" is one of my preferred tracks to use when analyzing headphones and demoing my car stereo for buddies; and "Them Bones" is one of my all-time favorite AiC tracks. 
Id like to extend on what nicolo just stated a little more. The bass is much tighter but also looses a bit of extension compared to the x1. For me it seemed as if the mids got a tiny bit of a boost and the treble a little bit more extended. I think the x2 is worth the upgrade just because of the replaceable pads, the refined tuning is extra. Having a $200-$300 headphone and no replaceable pads is a no-no in the audiophile world IMHO. But it didnt keep me away from the x1's when they first came out. But when the x2's came out its a no brainer for me. So im going to jump on getting a pair. My buddy has had his pair for a while and i plan on getting a pair myself. I held off because i had an opportunity to purchase a pair of lcd2s.
Very nice review!
I own the X1s and I love them. But on some recordings there could be a little less/tighter bass and a little more sparkle in the treble. Almost every comparison between X1s and X2s I read suggests that these things are fixed with the X2. Hmmm.
The replacable pads alone do not justify the extra 100 bucks in my opinion as Philips offers no replacements. So this is a little bit pointless. There are also reports from users who successfully got off the pads from their X1s and put them back in place. There are the same pins as the X2s have them. So it seems as Philips wanted to make the pads replacable on the X1s but the construction was not good enough so they used glue in addition.
@Bibo Thaks! 
Yeah, It's my impression as well that the bass on the X2's are more controlled (especially mid-bass). I demoed the X1 many times when they were new and alwayd found the bass to boomy for my liking so I never purchased them. When I demoed the X2's before my purchase I didn't feel that. Take this with a grain of salt though since I've never compared the two at the same time.
 
I also agree with you on the pads, better think of them as non-replaceble until Philips proves us wrong ;)
I too own these headphones and LOVED them right out of the box.
 
This is an Excellent review, really good and thoughtful.
 
I own a pair of Grado PS500's (I prefer the X2's), a pair of Hifiman HE-300's (I prefer the X2's) and a pit of Hifiman HE-400i's which I like only a tad more.
 
For me these headphones are what I wanted the Senn 650's to be, at less cost. Great headphones and review.
 
Well worth the money. I run them directly with an iPod Classic and Lossless Files plugged right into the Cayin C5 and THAT is a lovely match although truth be told they sound good with every amp I have.
Very nice review.  I'm also glad to hear that these sound good with different amps as I am still woking out what amp I want to go with.
@muchtooloud Thanks for the  kind words! I'm glad you're enjoying yours as well
 
@pedalcolorado  Thank you!
Very nice review!  How well do you think these would perform with more complex music like symphonic metal and orchestra?
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